A recent report from the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Illinois has critics asking if it is time the asset forfeiture process should be examined. The Institute for Justice gave Illinois a D-minus for civil forfeiture in a recent report titled “Policing for Profit” for not requiring a conviction to forfeit, poor protections for innocent third-party property owners and having 90 percent of forfeiture proceeds going to law enforcement.
Dr. Dick Carpenter, director of strategic research for the Institute for Justice, says an example of the negative impacts of civil forfeiture is when a mother lends a car to her child and the child is arrested on a drug crime leading to the car being seized.
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Carpenter says forfeiture flips the concept of innocent until proven guilty on its head. More than $19 million in civil, criminal and asset forfeitures has been collected by the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Illinois in fiscal year 2015. That’s according to the office which says $9.3-million was collected from criminal actions, $538,000 in asset forfeiture actions and over $10-million in civil actions. However critics say civil forfeiture in Illinois needs reformed.